Cardboard Metropolis

“This is life!” says Troy, spreading his arms wide, encompassing the tiny stage littered with advertisements and crumpled pearls of wisdom, reaching towards the slightly baffled audience. The Cardboard Metropolis is a one-act black comedy which pivots around the vacant character of Troy, a wide-eyed street kid who only speaks in advertising jingles. Around him circle the predatory characters of Jim (Alistair Faiers) and Vanessa (Natalie Rossetti), marketing executives of Corporation Incorporated, desperate to move Troy (Fergus Nimmo) from his impotent advert-worship towards the ultimate consumerist aim: buying. On the edge hovers Mr Zed, a dreamy, plum-voiced philosopher-cum-street-sweeper, who writes down pieces of wisdom that are either ignored or appropriated by Troy as yet another advertisement.Consumerism, a faltering economy, the symbolism of a city suffering from drought, all suggest a hidden political message, yet I was left struggling to find one beyond the tired cliché of ‘consumerism isn’t fulfilling us’. In this dystopian future, the spiritual is just another product, and there is no alternative to consumerism; Schrodinger’s cat cannot escape Felix and Iams. Explanations are rarely given and sugar-sweet switches suddenly to violent aggression. At times I felt as confused as Troy looked, stranded on stage being yelled at like an abused hobbit by the previously-beguiling Jim.Although Faiers is slimily convincing as grinning advertising executive, these violent switches between positivity and anger feel laboured and unbelievable. As the play progresses however, both Faiers and Rosetti become more comfortable in the double-dealing natures of their characters. Nimmo plays the semi-lunatic worryingly convincingly, and in the interactions between Troy and Vanessa, a real claustrophobia and sense of danger is created. It is in these small moments, when the characters actually engage with one another, rather than shouting or moralising, that the play really works. At times laugh-out-loud funny, and at others totally baffling, The Cardboard Metropolis is a brave piece of new writing that ventures somewhere into the absurd.

Reviews by Louisa-Claire Dunnigan

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

Somewhere, a man exists on a promise of a better life. Global conglomerate, 'Corporation Incorporated', know that in times of crisis, no one can avoid consumption. A black comedy set in a warped dystopian future near you.

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Back to the Future - The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Matilda the Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £35.00

More Info

Find Tickets

SIX

From £39.00

More Info

Find Tickets